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White Noise | 2022 | R | – 3.5.5

content-ratingsWhy is “White Noise” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “brief violence and language.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes an imagined sex scene, discussions of an extramarital sexual affair, a huge crash between a train and a truck that causes a toxic chemical spill and cloud threatening people in the area, a car crash with bloody injuries, gunshot wounds that leave bloody injuries, arguments and discussions about life and fearing death, and at least 1 F-word and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


A blended family tries to get through their very busy days and stay happy, while also struggling with existential dread, especially after a toxic chemical spill threatens their home and health. Also with Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, Don Cheadle, May Nivola, Raffey Cassidy and Sam Nivola. Directed by Noah Baumbach. Several lines of dialogue are spoken in German with English subtitles. [Running Time: 2:16]

White Noise SEX/NUDITY 3

 – A husband and his wife sit in bed together, they hold hands, she cries, they kiss and he gets out of bed. A TV screen shows a clothed man lying on a bed and a clothed woman climbing on top of him.
 A husband and his wife lie in bed together and the husband gets a romance novel off a shelf for her to read to him; she then talks about phrases that she doesn’t like to read in romance novels. A wife tells her husband that she had an affair with another man and the husband asks if she enjoyed it. A man describes a woman and someone asks him, “Was she naked?” and the man replies, “To the waist,” and the other person asks, “From which direction?”
 A man sits on a toilet and appears to be defecating; we see him reach around to the back to wipe himself (no feces are seen). A man wearing boxers and a shirt lies back on a bed and we see his bare abdomen and legs to the upper thighs. A person goes to the bathroom and we hear the trickle of urine and the flush of the toilet. A man is shown seated on a medical exam table with his shirt open to reveal his bare chest and abdomen. An ad in a newspaper features a woman wearing a bikini and we see her cleavage, bare abdomen and legs to the hips.

White Noise VIOLENCE/GORE 5

 – A man loads a gun and goes to a motel where he meets a man, they talk, argue, and the first man draws the gun and shoots the other man in the chest, and then again while he is on the floor (we see some blood on the wounds and the wall behind him); the shooter puts the gun in the injured man’s hand and when he revives, he shoots and the bullet hits the shooter in the hand, as well as a woman that has entered the room in the leg (we see bloody wounds). A man and a woman drag a wounded man out of a motel on a bedspread and we see him vomit what looks like foam and then he stops breathing; the other man performs mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and the unconscious man breathes again and they drive to an emergency hospital.
 A train carrying toxic material speeds along tracks as a truck carrying flammable liquid drives on a road; the truck driver leans over to pick up a bottle of liquor and swerves on the road before slamming into the train and causing a derailment and explosions that send a large billowing black cloud into the air (we see a thick liquid oozing from the train). Several garbage cans are knocked on their sides and garbage is strewn on the ground through a neighborhood after people panic and speed away in their cars. A long line of cars backs up on a highway with people trying to evacuate an area; a car speeds along the shoulder and tries to maneuver but flips over other cars and crashes causing many injuries (we see some bloody wounds and crumpled vehicles). People panic trying to get out of an evacuation camp and cars, motorcycles and horses speed through the area; one man is struck by a car and thrown. A man speeds in a car through a forest following another car, eventually driving into a stream where the car floats and bumps into several rocks before reaching land and it speeds out of the water and crashes into a field.
 A thick cloud moves over a gas station where a man is refueling his car; the lights in the station flicker as the cloud passes over and the man hears noises. Sirens blare and voices over loudspeakers direct people to evacuate an area and that there is a cloud of deadly chemicals approaching. A man gives another man a gun to use to protect himself and his family. A man breaks open bags of garbage using a golf club and digs through the debris.
 People wearing hazmat suits walk around a crash site and we hear reports of a “toxic event.” Several children watch TV news footage of a plane crash and we see the plane crash straight into the ground nose first (we do not see injuries). A giant dark cloud moves through the sky and lightning flashes and strikes to the ground. A man shows several video clips of staged (for movies) car crashes with destruction, explosions and fires shown, as well as some severed bloody limbs and blood splattered on glass. People gather at a scout camp where an evacuation center has been organized. A woman works in a chemistry lab among many bubbling beakers.
 A man imagines someone under the sheets next to him and we see the sheet pressing onto the face of a person gasping for air (as if it is plastic) and the man wakes up gasping. A husband imagines pulling a piece of flesh off his wife’s cheek (we see a bloody patch). A woman takes a pill and her husband quizzes her about what it is; she denies it is a pill. A woman stands looking out a window and cries. A woman talks about taking an experimental drug and that she felt persistent gloom and self-pity.
 Family members argue and talk over each other in many scenes throughout the movie. A man says strings of words that seem to terrify another man and he recoils and falls off a bed; the first man says, “I am here to kill you.” A young girl asks her father if they will need to leave their home and she reminds him of a time when there was a leak at her school and they had to evacuate. A teen boy sits on a roof and looks through binoculars at a large black cloud in the distance; he says, “I don’t like the look of it.” A teen boy plays chess against another teen in prison and he says that the person is in jail because he shot five people. A man talks about being the preeminent authority on Adolf Hitler and that he teaches a Hitler Studies Program at a college. We see newsreel footage of Adolf Hitler and crowds of people chanting and saluting him. A man talks about a plot to kill Adolf Hitler. A husband insists on his wife telling him who she had an affair with and she refuses saying that he will go kill him. A husband and his wife talk about who should die first and what might happen to the one left behind. Two men talk about death. A man says that the family is the cradle of the world’s misinformation. A doctor tells a man that he should have more tests after his blood work shows something suspicious. A teen girl tells her mother that a sugarless chewing gum contains cancer-causing chemicals. A teen girl says that she has seen her mother taking books on the occult up to the attic. Someone reports, “Three live deer are dead.” A bumper sticker reads, “Gun control is mind control.”
 A teen girl retches and runs out of the room (we hear her vomiting off-screen; we do not see any goo). A person goes to the bathroom and we hear the trickle of urine and the flush of the toilet. Symptoms of exposure to a gas include sweaty palms, nausea, vomiting, and heart palpitations. A butcher in a grocery store hacks a piece of meat with a cleaver and blood splatters on a customer’s face. A man has a large scar on his hand. A woman has a stream of blood on her leg from a gunshot bullet wound.

White Noise LANGUAGE 5

 – At least 1 F-word, 9 sexual references, 7 scatological terms, 2 anatomical terms, 1 mild obscenity, name-calling (plotters, bossy, ordinary, boring, mama’s boy, toxic event, rodents, vermin, numb skull, white man, stupid, desperate, childish, insane, canard), exclamations (jeez, thank goodness), 3 religious exclamations (e.g. oh God, oh my God, a nun and three people discuss the existence of heaven). | profanity glossary |

White Noise SUBSTANCE USE

 – A woman takes pills in several scenes and her daughter becomes concerned about what they are and their side effects, and a woman talks about taking a psycho-pharmaceutical. A truck driver leans over to pick up a bottle of liquor implying that he is drinking and driving (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details), and people drink champagne and beer at a reception. A woman says that she either will chew gum or smoke, and cigarettes burn in an ashtray.

White Noise DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Adolf Hitler, American optimism, fear of death, depression, toxic spills, violence, blended families, lifestyle, divorce, Elvis, skeptics, reincarnation, déjà vu, killers vs. dyers, memory lapse, envy, hope, the power of suggestion, shame, extramarital affairs, medical breakthroughs.

White Noise MESSAGE

 – Fearing death can get in the way of living. Believe in each other.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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